As­pir­ing to noth­ing

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The truth is we are far from match­ing the so­cial­ist ideal of Venezuela. Re­cent data show Greece at 81st in the global com­pet­i­tive­ness rank­ings (be­low Ta­jik­istan and Ukraine), while the Latin Amer­i­can coun­try, with the legacy of its late Pres­i­dent Hugo Chavez, ranks far lower at 132nd. Still, gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials are do­ing their best. They pledge that loss-mak­ing public sec­tor com­pa­nies will al­ways re­main un­der state con­trol while stay­ing afloat thanks to Greek tax­payer money. In April, for­mer pro­duc­tion re­con­struc­tion min­is­ter Panayi­o­tis Lafaza­nis ap­proved 30 mil­lion eu- ros in fi­nan­cial aid to the strug­gling Hel­lenic Sugar In­dus­try (EBZ) by means of a leg­isla­tive act. It should be noted that EBZ’s losses (it ac­tu­ally ended up in the red for a sev­enth con­sec­u­tive year) reached 58.4 mil­lion eu­ros in 2014 while turnover was at 80.6 mil­lion eu­ros fol­low­ing a 20.53 per­cent drop. Mean­while, its plant in Platy, in north­ern Greece’s Imathia re­gion, re­cently posted 212 job open­ings, while the one in Ser­res re­port­edly has 55 per­ma­nent staff who col­lect the beets be­fore send­ing them to Platy, plus another five sea­sonal staff (Efimerida ton Syn­tak­ton, Septem­ber 9). On the other hand, SYRIZA deputy Ka­te­rina Ig­glesi is happy be­cause the “move­ment” is close to block­ing the only ma­jor in­vest­ment to have taken place in Greece over the past few years. Speak­ing on Sto Kokkino ra­dio on Thurs­day, Ig­glesi said: “The case [of shut­ting down the gold-min­ing pro­ject in Sk­ouries, north­ern Greece] is fi­nally on a very good path. We have a gov­ern­ment that has re­voked the li­cences.” Un­for­tu­nately, noth­ing good will ever come from this gov­ern­ment in the area of in­vest­ments. Its mem­bers be­long to a dif­fer­ent era, when the state would do busi­ness at ev­ery­one else’s ex- pense. SYRIZA folk do not grasp the chal­lenges of to­day, they do not un­der­stand the mean­ing of com­par­a­tive ad­van­tage, they do not care about taxpayers’ money – per­haps be­cause they have con­vinced them­selves that ev­ery tax­payer is also a rich per­son. Hence, from now on, any­one who makes more than 1,500 eu­ros a month will be deemed rich and a tar­get for tax­a­tion. But that’s not all. The aim of gov­ern­ment pol­icy is to im­prove the well-be­ing of no one, but to drag ev­ery­one down to an equal level. It mat­ters lit­tle to them if, as the EBZ story shows, no one buys their prod­uct.

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